When scheduling your procedure with your surgeon, make sure you obtain an estimate of how long you will be in the hospital. Most likely, you will go home the same day; alternatively, you might be required to stay in the hospital for a few days. Make sure to plan accordingly, considering work schedules, holidays, and upcoming family plans.
On the day before surgery, a nurse from HSS will call you with additional instructions and reminders. You will be told when and where to come the next morning, what medications to take, and by what time you should no longer have anything to eat or drink. This does not apply to medications that you have been instructed to take the morning of surgery with a small sip of water. Be sure to follow the nurse’s recommendations strictly, as your surgery might otherwise have to be re-scheduled.
On the morning of your surgery, you will arrive several hours before your procedure is scheduled to begin.
Hand surgery can be performed under two major types of anesthesia: general or regional anesthesia./P>
If your recovery is expected to require several days in the hospital, your anesthesiologist will choose one of two options to control your pain after surgery. He or she may elect to place a tiny plastic catheter at the site of the injection. This will allow you to receive a continuous infusion of pain medication after the surgery and will make your recovery much more comfortable. The other option is called intravenous patient-controlled analgesia, or PCA. This is a button that you can push to administer a small dose of intravenous pain medication at a set interval as needed.
After one to four days of recovery, you will be discharged home, likely with a prescription for pain medication, a prescription for physical therapy, and a follow-up appointment with your surgeon.
Reviewed and updated by Yi Lin, MD